Legendary Brazilian footballer Pelé is suing Samsung for around $30 million after the company used a ‘lookalike’ face as part of a television advertisement last year.
According to Reuters, the 75-year old Brazilian filed a lawsuit on March 16th, after the company used a model that “very closely resembles Pelé.” The photo was accompanied by a footballer trying a “modified bicycle or scissor kick, perfected and famous used by Pelé,” the complainant added.
They also add that Samsung has previously tried to use Pelé as part of a marketing campaign back in 2013, but the South Korean firm pulled out of the deal and consequently “never obtained the right to use Pelé’s identity in any manner or in any format.”
His lawyers will argue that the use of a similar figure will confuse customers into thinking that Pelé endorses Samsung, which will confuse customers and therefore reduce the value of Pelé’s image and endorsements, which are his main income stream.
Over the course of the 2014 World Cup, Bloomberg reported that Pelé earned $25 million from endorsements, including deals with business such as Subway, Volkswagen, Santander, and Procter & Gamble.
“The goal is to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorized use of Pelé’s identity, and to prevent future unauthorized uses,” his lawyer Frederick Sperling said.
Sports lawyer Sperling also represented basketball star Michael Jordan, and helped him win a $8.9 million jury verdict last August against the former Dominick’s Finer Foods concerning the grocer’s unapproved use of the basketball legend’s identity in an ad published in the magazine Sports Illustrated.
Samsung spokeswoman Danielle Meister Cohen declined to comment.